Madam President,

As we have heard, on May 30 last year, under my country’s Presidency of this Council, Director General Rafael Grossi, whom I thank for his great commitment and for his briefing today, presented five concrete and practical principles for preventing an accident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Compliance with these principles is in everyone's interest, as the consequences of a nuclear accident would have a widespread impact.  

These principles ensure the IAEA's seven pillars, which were urgently established following Russia's military seizure and illegal occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in 2022, since when the facility's safety and security have been seriously compromised.

Despite the precariousness of the situation, we were relieved - until last week - to know that there were no indications of direct violation of the five principles. With the serious incidents of April 7 and the following days, namely a series of drone attacks directly impacting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, this has suddenly changed: For the first time since the five principles were established, the building housing one of the reactors has been targeted by military action, in flagrant violation of these principles. These actions are irresponsible and unacceptable.  

Switzerland therefore wholeheartedly endorses the Director-General's call for de-escalation, so that the latest developments: " do not mark the beginning of a new and gravely dangerous front of the war".  

We call on Russia and Ukraine to fully implement and respect the seven pillars and five principles at all times, and to refrain from hostilities near and against nuclear facilities. We reiterate our call on the parties to the conflict to respect international humanitarian law in all circumstances. In particular, we emphasize the special protection afforded by Art. 56 of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions against attacks on installations containing dangerous forces. This article requires that no military objectives be placed in the vicinity of such installations.

Madam President,  

Since the start of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine, Switzerland has been deeply concerned about the safety and security of nuclear facilities in the country. For the protection of the civilian population and the environment in Ukraine and beyond, a nuclear incident must be avoided at all costs. The fact that all six reactors of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are now in cold shutdown, as recommended by the IAEA, represents a positive development in a very fragile situation. Switzerland reiterates its call on Russia to immediately withdraw all its troops and weapons from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the entire territory of Ukraine. Control of the nuclear power plant must be returned to the competent Ukrainian authorities.  

We reiterate our appreciation and support for the impartial work of the IAEA and its efforts to reduce the risk of a nuclear accident. The continued presence of Agency experts at all Ukrainian nuclear sites is essential to provide impartial and independent information and to guarantee nuclear safety and security. We reiterate our call for prompt access by IAEA experts to all relevant areas of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. We also call for an immediate improvement in staff working and living conditions, and for an end to discriminatory administrative practices in staffing.  

As a Council, we must be clear and united on the central objective of nuclear safety and security, and continue to monitor this issue very closely. We also hope that this common goal can contribute to efforts to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in Ukraine, in accordance with the UN Charter.

I thank you.